Game over for Crocodile Hunter

Controversial game has Steve's widow firing at stingrays underwater

Game over for Crocodile Hunter

Just how do you say goodbye to someone as unique as Australia’s Steve Irwin, whose death even kids are mourning. One controversial tribute is an online game that is circulating by email, called Terri Irwin’s Revenge. It has Steve’s widow firing at stingrays underwater — sadly, some people have taken to doing similar in real life. The aim of the game is to kill as many of the sea-beasts as possible.

Not surprisingly, the game has been slammed as being in bad taste, although its originators say “The game is intended as a memorial and not a funny parody”.

We can see why not everyone might view it that way though, especially as the creators’ websites (there’s more than one such game) usually carry advertising, so it all looks suspiciously like a money-making game.

We reckon Steve would probably have appreciated some of the jokes currently circulating about him, but certainly not a sea-creature- killing game. As he always warned: venturing into wild territory is a life-risking choice.

NZ: a moveable feast

Google Earth is one of our favourite websites here at E-tales headquarters. The ability to zoom around the world and check out our neighbours’ homes fulfils all sorts of nosy urges. And, now that Google Earth has updated its maps of New Zealand, visitors can see more of the country than just the Devonport Naval Base and Waihopai Spy Base. Or can they?

Type in “Waihopai, New Zealand” and the latest version of Google Earth takes you straight past Waihopai and drops you off just outside Invercargill. On the way you can see such wondrous sights as “Hammer Springs”, a place once renowned for its metalwork but now, sadly, in decline.

For those that do want to check out the spy base, it resides at longitude 173° 44’ 20”,

latitude 41° 34’ 36”. Just look for the golf balls.

The second-biggest loser

Microsoft’s plan to open a Christchurch office is a shot in the arm for the Canterbury IT scene, but the media release Microsoft sent out is a bit of a shot to the ego of the capital.

According to the release, Microsoft’s New Zealand managing director, Helen Robinson, thinks “it makes good business sense to establish a presence in New Zealand’s second-largest city”. Now, whether Christchurch or Wellington is New Zealand’s second-largest city is debatable and probably hinges on whether outlying areas of Wellington, such as the Hutt Valley and Porirua, are counted. We wager, however, that Wellingtonians might be a bit miffed at being consigned to “New Zealand’s third-largest city” status in Microsoft’s eyes. Memo to Microsoft: when you open a Hamilton or Dunedin office, any comment that you’re establishing a presence in NZ’s fourth-largest city will be met with ire from whichever of the two isn’t described as such.

What’s he doing?

A Computerworld reporter who rang Inland Revenue to speak to CIO Ross Hughson got an interesting response from a receptionist. “He’s in another building. Don is doing Ross and Ross is doing Colin.”

We presume they’re covering each other’s jobs.

Pet project

An E-taler got a surprise to see IT recruiter Laurel Gillan pitching a pet funeral business on Dragon’s Den recently. Laurel, who used to be with ITmaniacs and now has her own IT sales-specialist recruitment firm, Amplify Sales, wasn’t successful in getting funding for Four Feet Under, her fledgling pet coffin business, but good on her for having a go.

It’s a bold move to start a business from scratch, especially when there are few synergies with your day job. We’re not sure of the ways in which recruiting IT sales staff is similar to providing comforting coffins for bereaved pet-owners, but we’re sure they are some. Go Laurel.

Up yours!

The crude phrase “Up Yours!” took on a new and even cruder meaning in a recent Reuters news story that the truly “weird and wonderful” Boing Boing website helpfully circulated around the globe. Apparently, in an effort to carry on their criminal activities even while behind bars, four members of the violent El Salvadorean street gang, Mara Salvatrucha, hid their mobile phones — and accompanying bits — way up where the sun don’t ever shine. An X-ray revealed the truly grubby ruse.

In true geek style, a Boing Boing reader provided details of the phone model (after squinting at the X-ray photo). A cheap-ass model (groan, his joke), a VK530, sold by El Salvador’s Telemovil mobile service provider.

Zonking-out Zune

As Robert X Cringely pointed out last week, Zune, the suggested name for Microsoft’s iPod rival, is quite close to an obscene word in Hebrew. So, faced with this snag, some commentators have suggested the device be branded Pyxis, instead, the code-name manufacturer Toshiba has given it. Unfortunately, there are problem with this name, too (see, naming your baby’s not easy).

Pyxis is already in use in the ICT world. It is the name of a range of software and hardware used to deliver hospital drugs to patients. Also, Pyx is the ancient Greek word for a church vessel used to take Communion wafers to sick people.

We’re not sure Microsoft would appreciate the sedative associations here either. But, then again, popular music is today’s opiate of the masses.

Hard times hit telcos

You know life’s rough at one of the country’s biggest telcos when staff members are vying for free kit from a rival.

Vodafone is giving away a number of Vodems, iPod-esque USB modems, as part of its newly launched 3G network upgrade. Retailing at around $429, the Vodem brings Apple’s ease of use to a PC plug-in: it doesn’t need any drivers, it self-installs and just works.

A quick look at the list of would-be Vodem owners, at, reveals not a few staff members from a certain rival telco, along with (ahem) certain journalists.

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